French visa fraud mastermind absconding from India
A former employee of the French Embassy in India who perpetrated a massive fraud by issuing visas to hundreds of people, including his parents, on the basis of fake documents without the knowledge and approval of sanctioning authority has escaped from India, CBI officials said. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had booked Shubham Shokeen and another former employee Aarti Mandal in the case on the basis of a complaint from the French Embassy.
Shokeen carried out the fraud through fake documents
New Delhi’s French Embassy staffer Shubham Shokeen issued visas on the basis of forged documents after accepting illegal gratification of Rs.50,000 per application without the knowledge and approval of the head of the visa department of the embassy from January 1, 2022, to May 6, 2022. Shokeen dealt with 324 files relating to requests to issue visas during the period, said CBI. PGurus reported in detail about the illegalities and corrupt practices in French Embassy in India in issuing visas.
CBI seizes the passports of Shokeen’s parents
The CBI was on the trail of Shokeen after the registration of the case but it found that he had escaped the country before the FIR was lodged by the agency last December. During the searches, the CBI seized the passports of Shokeen’s parents — no. U6107931 belonging to his father Samunder Singh and U1489667 belonging to his mother Anita Shokeen — on which ‘ETATS SCHENGEN‘ visa stickers bearing numbers 601039921 and 601039919 respectively were pasted. The Schengen visa allows a person to travel across 27 countries in Europe seamlessly.
Shokeen’s parents did not appear for the personal interview for a visa
The purported visa issued by French Embassy was valid for five years from January 3, 2022, to January 2, 2027, and authorized multiple entries and stay for 90 days in France. When enquired, the French Embassy in New Delhi informed the CBI on February 10 that the visa stickers on Shokeen’s parents are genuine. Still, the signatures of Yohan Fanhan, an officer of the embassy upon the same appear to be forged. The embassy also said that it is a strong likelihood that the parents of Shokeen did not appear for the personal interview for a visa and the stickers were taken out by him and pasted at home.
Left no traces of illicit activity
The CBI said that as many as 64 files pertaining to individuals having a “high risk” of migration, like young farmers or unemployed persons from Punjab who had never traveled before and lacked the profile to hold a Schengen Visa have “disappeared” from the Embassy and remain untraceable. The probe agency suspects that Aarti Mandal and Shubham Shokeen allegedly destroyed the documents and files from the visa department to leave no traces of this illicit activity, they said.
CBI books three other accused
The CBI had conducted searches in Delhi, Patiala, Gurdaspur, and Jammu, during which documents and electronic evidence like laptops, mobile phones, and suspicious passports were recovered. The CBI has alleged that three other accused booked in the FIR — Navjot Singh from Jammu and Kashmir and Chetan Sharma and Satwinder Singh Purewal, both from Punjab — had allegedly submitted fake and forged letters purportedly written by Maersk Fleet Management and Technology India Private Limited, Bengaluru to the Consulate General of France, Bengaluru, for issuing entry visas for their joining at Emma Maersk, Edith Maersk, and Munkebo Maersk, respectively at Port-Le-Havre, France.
Used fake, forged letters by a private firm in Bengaluru
“It was further alleged that in pursuance to the said criminal conspiracy, applicants from Punjab and Jammu submitted fake and forged letters purportedly written by a private company based at Bengaluru to the Consulate General of France, Bengaluru, for issuing entry visas for their joining private companies in Port-Le-Havre, France,” a CBI spokesperson had said in a statement.
 Visa Fraud: Files of 64 people with a high risk of migration ‘disappear’ from India’s French Embassy – Dec 19, 2022, PGurus.com
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Good. Govt is sleeping. Encourages more to commit fraud & escape. Freedom to escape.
Is Yamraj really strong in India ?